Marking the Centenary of Women’s Suffrage

This week marks one hundred years since the partial political enfranchisement of women in this country. The passing of the Representation of the People Act in Parliament on the 6th February 1918 gave women over the age of 30 who met property qualifications the right to vote and sit in parliament. Despite its caveats and restrictions this piece of legislation marked the significant moment in our national history where female voices would be heard in the national political sphere.

Emmeline Pankhurst addresses crowd 1911

We remember the legislation in light of the work and sacrifice of those who surrendered their time, their social-standing and in extreme cases their lives to make it a reality. This spring we remember and honour this North West born suffrage movement without which the women business leaders of the NWBLT would not have the voices we enjoy today.

Remembering women’s suffrage is a cause for celebration, it should also be a source of inspiration for men and women to continue to work for a more fair and equal society where everyone’s talents are recognised. The task of delivering fair representation continues. A recent report looking at female leadership in FTSE 100, 250 and 350 businesses – The Hampton-Alexander Review showed that representation of women in FTSE 100 firms on Executive Committees was 19.3% (Hampton Alexander Review, p10: 2017). This figure has been slowly rising year on year but still has a long way to go.

The only way to achieve this is to ensure business leaders establish an inclusive business environment. It is not sufficient to assume legislation against gender discrimination will solve the problem; there must be a cultural shift. This change in culture must be real and on display, one-way NWBLT members are doing this is by simply helping us to commemorate the centenary of women’s suffrage.  Above are a rolling carousel of quotes from a number of NWBLT members outlining their thoughts on this important subject.  The illustrations behind the quotes are from the graphic novel Sally Heathcote, Suffragette by Mary M Talbot, Bryan Talbot and Kate Charlesworth, published by Jonathan Cape.  Used by kind permission of the authors’.

Although a small act, the message this sends out is one of inclusivity and awareness of both historic issues and present day issues at hand that has been previously mentioned. To be part of our conversation please make sure to follow @NWBLT on twitter.